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The Quest Of Reason: The Outlook Of The Precious Ornament (Part 1)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes the theological outlook expressed in the most popular work of Ephraim Luntshitz, the Keli Yekar or Precious Ornament. The Precious Ornament is a text-based commentary in the ?tosafistic? style, with sermonic-style digressions. Ephraim has also alluded once more by literary borrowing to Mordecai Jaffe?s curriculum of the Royal Garment: philosophy, astronomy, and mysticism as steps to knowledge of God. The rationalistic interpretation of Jacob?s Ladder which Ephraim borrowed from Jaffe had its roots in Maimonides?s Guide as interpreted by the medievals. The quest for the intellectual knowledge of God is one of the leitmotifs of Ephraim?s commentary on the Biblical narrative in the Precious Ornament. Except for the apparently-approving citation of Maimonides in the Binding of Isaac narrative, there is no further evidence that Ephraim subscribed to a comprehensive doctrine of divine foreknowledge. The chapter discusses the possible significance of Ephraim?s speculations on ancient Manicheanism.

Keywords: Biblical narrative; divine foreknowledge; Ephraim Luntshitz; Isaac Abravanel; Jacob?s ladder; Maimonides philosophy; Manicheanism; Mordecai Jaffe; Precious Ornament ; tosafist-style



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